The life sector in Singapore posted S$925.1m ($694.1m) in total weighted new business premiums for 1Q2018, a remarkable 14% growth from the corresponding period the previous year, says the Life Insurance Association (LIA) Singapore.
Linked policies recorded the highest growth in total weighted premiums of S$208m, with an 82% increase from 1Q2017. S$642.8m in weighted annual premiums were registered during the first three months of the year, reflecting an encouraging 21% increase from the corresponding period in 2017. This is attributed to increases recorded across all policy types namely; linked, participating and nonparticipating policies.
For single premium products, the industry recorded S$282.3m in weighted single premiums, a 0.4% increase from 1Q2017, for which: a) single premium par and non-par products comprised 65%, the balance 35% were single premium linked products b) Central Provident Fund -included products comprised 24%; and cash-funded products took the remaining 76%.
There was a significant 23% y-o-y increase in total sum assured for new business, amounting to S$29.9bn in 1Q2018. LIA Singapore president Patrick Teow said, “While our Protection Gap Study 2017 found a persistent gap in the level of protection amount in Singapore, it is heartening to know that more people are taking actions to get better insured.
“Collectively, the life insurance industry will not only look at continuing ongoing public education efforts, we will also develop more targeted public engagement programmes based on insights from our follow-up qualitative study.”
In 1Q2018, the life insurance industry paid out S$1.3bn to policyholders and beneficiaries. Of this amount, S$1.06bn was for policies that matured. The remaining S$237m was for death, critical illness, or disability claims.
Steady uptake of retirement-focused policies
The industry’s results for the first quarter also reflect increasing awareness and actions taken by individuals to prepare better for retirement. In the first three months of 2018, 6,631 policies were sold that are designed to provide regular payouts to policyholders during retirement years. This is a notable 30% increase compared to 1Q2017. These plans account for approximately 6% of the total weighted premiums, recorded for 1Q2018.
More covered by integrated shield plans
Compared with a year ago, 70,000 more Singaporeans and permanent residents are covered by integrated shield plans (IP), leading to a total of 2.68m lives or approximately 68% of Singapore residents with IP coverage. An IP which provides medical coverage over and above the component included in MediShield Life, the national basic health insurance scheme that provides lifelong protection against large medical bills.
New business premiums for individual health insurance totalled S$105.7m for 1Q2018, of which IP and IP rider premiums accounted for 90% (S$95.5m). The remaining 10% (S$10.2m) came from other medical plans and riders. A